Just a 10-minute walk from the romantic Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley is the ideally situated four-star Auberge du Bon Laboureur. In a village of 350 people, I counted four large hotels on the main street. I’m convinced we chose the best one. An added bonus is the Michelin-starred restaurant besides an abundant garden, outdoor pool, lounge, bar and numerous salons to relax in.
We were led to our charming room, up two flights of stairs, no elevator. I had asked for a first floor room, but I was not disappointed when we were led into room #410. Two large windows opened out to the light-filled sky and a view of the attractive annex across the side street. The long room included a sitting area with sofa and coffee maker on one end and a spacious well-appointed bathroom on the opposite end. Charming, comfortable and quiet.
Dinner was exceptional. With three dining areas available, the hostess began leading us to one in the back. We quickly asked to be in the main room that appeared more spacious and elegant. Apparently we got the last available table in that room. We had had a local Montluis Pétillant apéro in the bar so we were ready for the warm asparagus, shaved Parmesan and quail egg amuse bouche along with a bottle of local Touraine white wine that went well with all the courses. My entrée was green and white spring asparagus lined up in precise rows and presented with two sauces. A filet of Saint-Pierre fish followed, set on a bed of sea foam mousse with peas and fava beans. We skipped the cheese course and were served a pre-dessert of fruit in Chantilly cream. Dessert was a delectable Opèra cake with coffee ice cream. With our déca coffee, a cart was wheeled to our table, and we were given the choice of mignardises. It was not easy, but the chocolate truffle was the best ever, and the tiny cherries in liquor were scrumptious.
Historically, the hotel was an ancient Relais de Poste, since 1786. For over 100 years, it has belonged to the same family who kept some of the antique character but have modernised it and added contemporary touches. The family continues to operate it with care. Five restored grand houses make up the property which belongs to the Relais du Silence collection. We were delighted to have discovered this outstanding auberge in the appealing village of Chenonceaux.